Best NASCAR Track (2015)


Each year the NASCAR Sprint Cup series takes place on two dozen tracks across the nation. Each track makes for its own unique racing style and fan experience. USA TODAY 10Best's panel of NASCAR experts selected their 20 favorite venues as nominees for 'Best NASCAR Track,' and for the past four weeks, our readers have been voting for their favorites.

  • Watkins Glen International

    Watkins Glen International
    Watkins Glen, N.Y.

    At one time the home of the F1 US Grand Prix, today Watkins Glen’s biggest race is its annual NASCAR date that sees its two top tier series competing on a double header weekend. The fast lefts and rights of this upstate New York have seen more than a few daring last lap moves and the “bus stop” on the back stretch is a legendary spot for intrepid drivers to make up time.
    Photo courtesy of Tom Pennington/Getty Images

  • Martinsville Speedway

    Martinsville Speedway
    Ridgeway, Va.

    NASCAR’s oldest track has hosted races since the late 1940’s, and while the racing surfaces have changed from dirt, to asphalt, to a hybrid patchwork, the paperclip shaped short track, tucked away in southern Virginia, has never failed to be a high point in the NASCAR season. It is also one of the most important and harrowing races in NASCAR’s version of the playoffs: The Chase.
    Photo courtesy of Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images

  • Michigan International Speedway

    Michigan International Speedway
    Brooklyn, Mich.

    The wide and fast eighteen degree banks of this two mile track are situated in the Irish Hills of Michigan, just a quick drive from the headquarters of GM and Ford in Detroit and Dearborn respectively. Ford backed teams have historically dominated the track, but in recent years GM and Toyota have edged their way into Ford’s territory and the race is as competitive as ever.
    Photo courtesy of Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

  • Bristol Motor Speedway

    Bristol Motor Speedway
    Bristol, Tenn.

    Arguably the track that invented the concept of bullring style short track racing, Bristol is all about beating and banging to get the upper hand over the field. The formula here is as simple as it is effective. Throw out all the aero R&D, fuel mileage predictions, and careful strategy because this track is all about having the muscle and will power necessary to make the guy in front of you move out of the way.
    Photo courtesy of Patrick Smith/Getty Images

  • Darlington Raceway

    Darlington Raceway
    Darlington, S.C.

    The track “Too Tough to Tame” is located deep in rural South Carolina and once a year NASCAR’s elite do battle on the egg-shaped oval’s narrow racing surface. The track evokes just as much admiration as it does hatred from the drivers, and, after a nasty brush with the outside walls, Kyle Petty once famously said of the track “They ought to fill this place up with water and turn it into a bass pond.” The fans however, overruled Petty and the track has sold out several times since.
    Photo courtesy of NASCAR Via Getty Images

  • Kansas Speedway

    Kansas Speedway
    Kansas City, Kan.

    Sitting on the Kansas side of Kansas City, this Midwest super speedway is a notoriously finicky track when it comes to how it reacts to weather and even more particular when it comes to fuel consumption. Many races have been won and lost due to crew chiefs’ predictions and one thing is for certain: if they haven’t figured this track out in the fourteen years it’s been open, they probably won’t any time soon.
    Photo courtesy of Jamie Squire/Getty Images

  • Dover International Speedway

    Dover International Speedway
    Dover, Del.

    The Monster Mile is what is called a “self cleaning track”. The banks are so high, even on the straights, that any wreck or mishap will inevitably wash downwards towards the apron of the track and the ensuing scramble to get out of the way at speeds approaching 180mph can cause massive pile-ups, which is of no small consequence when it hosts the third race of the Chase.
    Photo courtesy of Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images

  • Richmond International Raceway

    Richmond International Raceway
    Richmond, Va.

    Dubbed the perfect race track by multitudes of drivers and fans alike, RIR’s 3/4 mile D-shaped configurations has the tight confines of a short track mixed with the multiple grooves and high speeds of a super speedway, and every race is held under the lights so fans can see the sparks fly and the brake rotors glow cherry red. Every show at Richmond is worth the price of admission.
    Photo courtesy of Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

  • Talladega Superspeedway

    Talladega Superspeedway
    Lincoln, Ala.

    The biggest, baddest track on the schedule, the 2.66 mile Talladega Super Speedway is synonymous with speed and excitement. Race lap averages routinely hit 200 miles per hour and every driver in the field dreads “The Big One” where one mishap results in a massive wreck that collects a dozen cars or more.
    Photo courtesy of Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

  • Charlotte Motor Speedway

    Charlotte Motor Speedway
    Concord, N.C.

    NASCAR has two homes. One lies on the beach at Daytona, but the other is far inland in the Charlotte area where most NASCAR teams are headquartered. The one and a half mile and very narrow Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts just as many event weekends as Daytona including the longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600, and the biggest payday of the year, the All-Star Race. And, to top it all off, the final event CMS holds is in the middle of the Chase.
    Photo courtesy of Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It was a close race between the winner and runner-up, but in the end it was Watkins Glen International, host of a double header weekend of top tier events, that snagged the title. Martinsville Speedway came in a close second.

The top 10 winners in the category 'Best NASCAR Track' are as follows:

  1. Watkins Glen International - Watkins Glen, N.Y.
  2. Martinsville Speedway - Ridgeway, Va.
  3. Michigan International Speedway - Brooklyn, Mich.
  4. Bristol Motor Speedway - Bristol, Tenn.
  5. Darlington Raceway - Darlington, S.C.
  6. Kansas Speedway - Kansas City, Kan.
  7. Dover International Speedway - Dover, Del.
  8. Richmond International Raceway - Richmond, Va.
  9. Talladega Superspeedway - Lincoln, Ala.
  10. Charlotte Motor Speedway - Concord, N.C.

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Jeff Gluck and Brant James cover motorsports for USA TODAY, while Matthew Henson serves as 10Best's very own racing expert.

Other nominees for 'Best NASCAR Track' included the Atlanta Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Daytona International Speedway, Homestead Miami Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Pocono Raceway, Sonoma Raceway and the Texas Motor Speedway.

10Best and USA TODAY extend their congratulations to all the winners. The contest was promoted on 10Best and USA TODAY.

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Jeff Gluck

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